“Colonies are the outhouses of the European soul,
where a fellow can let his pants down and relax,
enjoy the smell of his own shit.”
– Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
When the U.S. won the Spanish-American War it annexed the former Spanish colony of Puerto Rico, as part of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris. This ended four centuries of Spanish rule, but essentially substituted one master for another.
Here is a brief history of that relationship.
FREE AT LAST
Spain grants Puerto Rico a Carta de Autonomía (Charter of Autonomy) which, after four hundred years, would give Puerto Rico its independence.
EIGHT DAYS OF INDEPENDENCE
General elections are held in March 1898 and the first “autonomous”government of Puerto Rico begins to function on July 17, 1898.
Just eight days later, on July 25, Nelson A. Miles (the Commanding General of the U.S. Army) invades Puerto Rico with 16,000 soldiers as part of the Spanish-American War.
General Nelson A. Miles
Gen. Miles lands in the coastal town of Guánica, and easily proceeds through the towns of Yauco, San Germán, Hormigueros, Mayagüez, Ponce, Adjuntas, Utuado, Juana Diaz, Coamo and Aibonito.
Miles stays in the southwestern quadrant of Puerto Rico. He does not invade San Juan where Spanish forces were strongest, particularly in the El Morro fortress. This was an effective strategy. The Spanish offer little resistance outside of San Juan.
The “Puerto Rican Campaign” lasts less than two months and concludes with the Treaty of Paris. This ends Puerto Rico’s independence.
Officially, this “independence” lasted only eight days: from July 17, 1898 until July 25, 1898 – the first day of the U.S. invasion.
U.S. 17th Regiment raises a few eyebrows
HURRICANE SAN CIRIACO
One of the worst Caribbean hurricanes in history, San Ciriaco kills over 3,400 Puerto Ricans and destroys the entire island coffee crop.
U.S. hurricane relief is bizarre. It sends NO hurricane relief to the island. Instead, it de-values the monetary currency of the entire island…
40% CURRENCY DEVALUATION
The U.S. sets up the American Colonial Bank, and the Spanish peso is replaced by the U.S. dollar as Puerto Rico’s currency. Though of equal international value, each peso is declared worth only 60 U.S. cents. This cripples the Puerto Rican economy, particularly for the small farmers.
U.S. BANKS FORECLOSE ON PUERTO RICAN LAND
With crippled farms and 40% less wealth, Puerto Rican farmers have to borrow money from U.S. banks. With no usury law restrictions, the American Colonial Bank charges interest rates so high that, within a decade (by 1910), the farmers default on their loans, and the banks now own their land.
The chief financiers of this massive land grab include the American Colonial Bank, the House of Morgan, and Riggs National Bank.
Riggs Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. circa 1915
A member of the Riggs family, E. Francis Riggs, later becomes the Chief of Police of Puerto Rico and presides over what became known as the Rio Piedras Massacre.
In 1917 Woodrow Wilson signs the Jones Act, under which English is decreed the “official language” of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans are granted U.S. citizenship.
This enables 18,000 Puerto Ricans to fight in World War I.
1st Puerto Rican Regiment
MONCHO REYES, THE IDIOT GOVERNOR
U.S. President Warren Harding appoints Emmet Montgomery Reily as Governor of Puerto Rico. In turn, Reily places his own friends in prominent positions throughout the Puerto Rican government.
Reily decrees that the U. S. flag (“Old Glory”) will be the only flag used throughout the entire island. He also declares that Spanish will no longer be used in any schools, which will now teach exclusively in English.
Reily is extremely unpopular. Puerto Ricans nickname him Moncho Reyes (a “Moncho” is an uncivilized moron). He is forced to resign in 1923, under a growing cloud of corruption charges.
U. S. LAND GRAB
By 1930, almost all of Puerto Rico’s farms belong to 41 sugar syndicates.
Uncle Sam reaches out to Puerto Rico
80% of these are U.S. owned, and the largest four syndicates – Central Guanica, South Puerto Rico, Fajardo Sugar and East Puerto Rico Sugar – are entirely U.S. owned and cover over half the island’s arable land.
NO MINIMUM WAGE
With no money, no crops, and no land, Puerto Ricans seek work in the cities. When the Puerto Rican legislature enacts a minimum-wage law like the one in America, the U.S. Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional.
Sweatshop in San Juan, PR
This decision is made despite AFL-CIO President Samuel Gompers’ testimony that “the salaries paid to Puerto Ricans are now less than half what they received under the Spanish.”
U.S. finished products – from rubber bands to radios – are priced 15 to 20% higher on the island than on the mainland. Puerto Rico is powerless to enact any price-fixing legislation.
PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOS
Pedro Albizu Campos, the first Puerto Rican graduate of Harvard Law School, is elected as President of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. Immediately, he starts to organize the island’s agricultural workers and small farmers.
PUERTO RICAN GUINEA PIGS
Pedro Albizu Campos investigates some disturbing rumors at San Juan Presbyterian Hospital, and confirms that a Dr. Cornelius P. Rhoads is injecting Puerto Rican patients with live cancer cells, and that he killed at least 13 of them.
A scandal erupts when the following letter, written by Dr. Rhoads himself, is discovered and released by Albizu Campos:
“The Porto Ricans (sic) are the dirtiest, laziest, most degenerate and thievish race of men ever to inhabit this sphere…I have done my best to further the process of extermination by killing off eight and transplanting cancer into several more…All physicians take delight in the abuse and torture of the unfortunate subjects.”
The U.S. press hail Dr. Rhoads, and place him on the cover of Time Magazine.
Puerto Rican women are massively used for the testing of IUDs and birth control pills. In addition, between 1930 and 1970, approximately one-third of Puerto Rico’s female population of childbearing age undergo “the operation,” the highest rate in the world.
Many of these women were “operated” upon without their knowledge or consent. Most frequently, these “procedures” occurred immediately after childbirth.
A doctor prepares for “the operation” during the 1930s
The Human Betterment Association of America promotes Eugenics (a thinly-veiled version of Nazi racial cleansing) as a basis for sterilizing blacks in the U.S. mainland, and Puerto Ricans on the island.
The available research and documentation of this colonial genocide is extensive.
Here is a robust bibliography: Sterilization of Puerto Rican Women
LOS MACHETEROS GO ON STRIKE
Each worker loaded 50,000 pounds per day
Pedro Albizu Campos directs an island-wide agricultural strike. The sugar cane workers, or Macheteros, extract wage concessions from the sugar syndicates.
This is the first time that anyone organizes Puerto Ricans against the United States…and wins.
Sugar cane strike at Yabucoa
24-HOUR FBI SURVEILLANCE OF ALBIZU CAMPOS
The U.S. economy is in a Great Depression. It needs every economic advantage it can find. Because of the Machetero sugar cane strike, the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party is targeted as a “threat to national security” and Albizu Campos’s life is in danger.
Albizu Campos speaking
J. Edgar Hoover orders 24-hour FBI surveillance of Campos’s movements and meetings. He receives constant death threats, is attacked in his own home, jailed for 24 years, beaten and tortured in prison.
RIO PIEDRAS MASSACRE
In the town of Rio Piedras, at a student assembly of the University of Puerto Rico, police shoot and kill four members of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party: José Barea, Ramón Pagán, Pedro Quiñones, and Eduardo Vega.
ASSASSINATION OF POLICE CHIEF RIGGS
In retaliation for the Río Piedras massacre, the insular police chief E. Francis Riggs is murdered in San Juan. Two Nationalist Party members, Hiram Rosado and Elías Beauchamp, are immediately arrested and shot dead in the San Juan police headquarters.
On Palm Sunday, March 21, a peaceful march is held in the town of Ponce, in support of Pedro Albizu Campos and other Nationalists who were recently imprisoned.
The march turns into a bloody police slaughter, killing 17 unarmed Puerto Rican civilians and wounding over 200 others. Women and children are killed – including a 7-year old girl, who is shot in the back.
The massacre occurs under the direct military command of General Blanton Winship, the U.S.-appointed governor of Puerto Rico.
The Ponce Massacre
On April 14, U.S. Congressman Vito Marcantonio denounces Winship on the floor of U.S. Congress:
“In his five years as Governor of Puerto Rico, Mr. Blanton Winship destroyed the last vestige of civil rights in Puerto Rico. Patriots were framed in the very executive mansion and railroaded to prison. Men, women, and children were massacred in the streets of the island simply because they dared to express their opinion or attempted to meet in free assemblage.”
—Vito Marcantonio, U.S. Congressman (Congressional Record of April 14, 1937, page 4499)
BOMBING OF CULEBRA
The U.S. begins to use the Culebra Archipelago as a gunnery and bombing practice site.
OCCUPATION OF VIEQUES
The U.S. establishes military bases in the islands of Vieques and Culebra. The Roosevelt Roads Naval Station is one of the largest naval facilities in the world covering 32,000 acres, three harbors, and two-thirds of the island of Vieques.
The Vieques bombing range
For over 60 years, the U.S. Navy uses Vieques for target practice in Navy bombing exercises. They use napalm, Agent Orange, and between 300 and 800 tons of depleted uranium-tipped ammunition. In total, the Navy drops nearly 3 million pounds of bombs on Vieques annually, until 2003.
Target practice at Vieques
Toward the end, as international pressure mounts against this bombing, the Governor of Puerto Rico appears before the U.S. Congress to say this:
“Never again shall we tolerate abuse of a magnitude and scope the likes of which no community in any of the fifty states would ever be asked to tolerate. Never again shall we tolerate such abuse: not for sixty years, and not for sixty months, or sixty hours, or sixty minutes.”
—Puerto Rico Governor, Pedro Roselló, October 19, 1999 (Statement before the U.S. Senate Armed Forces Committee)
LAW 53 (THE GAG LAW)
Puerto Rico’s Gag Law (Law 53) is enacted to suppress the independence movement in Puerto Rico. The Gag Law makes it a crime to sing a patriotic tune; to speak or write of independence; or to meet with anyone, or hold any assembly, with regard to the political status of Puerto Rico. Anyone found guilty of disobeying this law is sentenced to ten years imprisonment, a fine of $10,000 dollars (US), or both.Rally in defiance of the Gag Law
The Gag Law also makes it a crime to display or own a Puerto Rican flag – even in one’s own home. This “flag” provision allows police and National Guardsmen to: 1) enter anyone’s home without a warrant, and 2) search and seize all property, regardless of probable cause.
Since all Puerto Ricans were declared U.S. citizens in 1917 (in order to send 18,000 of them to fight in World War I), the Gag Law is in direct violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech to all U.S. citizens.
Mass arrests for violations of the Gag Law
Despite its constitutional flaws, the Gag Law is politically effective. Fifteen members of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party are immediately arrested and accused of violating it, and mass arrests are threatened throughout the island.
The Gag Law is repealed in 1957.
UPRISINGS THROUGHOUT PUERTO RICO
Organized and led by Pedro Albizu Campos, Puerto Ricans revolt in eight towns (San Juan, Ponce, Peñuelas, Jayuya, Utuado, Mayagüez, Naranjito, Arecibo) during a four-day period (Oct. 29 – Nov. 1), and attempt to assassinate both the President of the United States and the Governor of Puerto Rico.
On October 29, in the town of Jayuya, Puerto Rican Nationalists burn a post office, attack a police station, cut the telephone lines, raise a Puerto Rican flag (in defiance of the Gag Law), and declare Puerto Rico a free Republic.
The U.S. begs to differ.
They declare martial law and attack the town with U.S. bomber planes, land-based artillery, mortar fire, grenades, U.S. infantry troops, and the National Guard. The planes machine-gun nearly every rooftop in the town. The Nationalists manage to hold the town for three days, then mass arrests follow.
U.S. troops arrive in Jayuya (Oct. 30, 1950)
Even though an extensive part of Jayuya is destroyed, news of this military action is prevented from spreading outside of Puerto Rico. It is reported as an “incident between Puerto Ricans” by the American media.
On October 30, in the town of Utuado, a group of 32 Nationalists attack the local police.
The fight goes badly. Twelve surviving men retreat to the house of Damián Torres – which is promptly strafed by 50-caliber machine guns, from four American P-47 Thunderbolt planes. Three men die from this aerial gunfire.
P-47 Thunderbolt fighter planes in formation
The National Guard arrives later that day, and orders the nine surviving Nationalists to surrender. When they do so, the nine men are taken to the Utuado police station and shot. Five of them (Heriberto Castro, Julio Feliciano, Agustín Quiñones Mercado, Antonio Ramos and Antonio González) die immediately, the other four are seriously wounded.
In the same manner as Jayuya, the massacre is reported as an “incident between Puerto Ricans” by the American media.
ATTACK ON THE GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO
On October 30, in San Juan, five Nationalists attack La Fortaleza (the Governor’s Mansion) in an attempt to assassinate Governor Luis Muñoz Marín. The battle lasts 15 minutes, leaving four Nationalists dead and three police officers wounded.
GUNFIGHT AT THE SALÓN BORICUA
On October 30, in the town of Santurce, forty armed police officers and National Guardsmen attack one man (Vidal Santiago Díaz) at his barbershop.
The attack is fierce and sustained – because the man is a Nationalist, and because he is Pedro Albizu Campos’s personal barber. Though Díaz is all alone, police use machine guns, rifles, carbines, revolvers, and even grenades.
The Gunfight at Salón Boricua becomes legendary. It lasts three hours, is transmitted live by radio, and heard all over the island. To the dismay of Governor Luis Muñoz Marín, the “little barber” becomes an overnight hero in Puerto Rico.
They got the barber
ATTACK ON PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN
On November 1, Nationalists Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola attempt to assassinate U.S. President Harry S. Truman. They attack the Blair House, where Truman is staying in Washington, D.C. The gunfight is short, less than one minute. Torresola and police officer Leslie Coffelt are killed, Oscar Collazo is sentenced to life imprisonment.
ATTACK ON THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Four Nationalists enter the Ladies’ Gallery (a balcony for visitors) of the U.S. Capital, unfurl a Puerto Rican flag, shout “Que viva Puerto Rico libre!” and shoot at the 240 Representatives of the 83rd Congress. Five congresspersons are wounded, though none fatally.
Lolita Lebron under arrest
The Nationalists – Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Miranda, Andres Cordero, and Irving Rodríguez – are arrested and sentenced to 70 years imprisonment. Upon her arrest, Lebrón declares “I did not come to kill anyone, I came to die for Puerto Rico.”
This was a major story in 1954:
Decades later, Lolita Lebrón remains a political and fashion icon.
CUBAN REVOLUTION CREATES MORE TOURISM
Immediately after the Cuban Revolution, which culminates in the overthrow of dictator Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959, the U.S tourism industry makes a massive shift to Puerto Rico. Hotels and casinos spring up, Pan Am flights multiply.
Even novelists Saul Bellow (teaching at the University of Puerto Rico), William Kennedy (editing the San Juan Star), and Hunter Thompson (writing for El Sportivo and the Herald Tribune) fly down and live cheap, during the late 50’s and early 60’s.
While stationed in Puerto Rico (1961-1963) John Kennedy Toole teaches English to Puerto Rican soldiers, drinks copiously, and writes the first draft of A Confederacy of Dunces.
PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOS DIES
Albizu Campos, the leader of the Puerto Rican Nationalist movement, dies in San Juan. He suffered his entire lifetime for his beliefs. He spent 23 years in prison. Most other years, he was under 24-hour surveillance by the FBI.
He was tear-gassed.
He was beaten in prison.
He was tortured and subjected to radiation in prison, until his limbs swelled grotesquely.
The press inquires about radiation
He was finally released, after suffering a stroke in prison…on the brink of death.
He was semi-paralytic and mute, and died a few months later.
Che Guevara appeared before the United Nations, and said this about him:
“Albizu Campos is a symbol of America unredeemed, but indomitable. Years and years of prisons, mental torture, solitude, complete isolation from his family and his people, the insolence of the conqueror and its lackeys on the land that gave him birth…nothing broke his will. The Cuban delegation renders homage, admiration and gratitude to a patriot who has given dignity to our America.”
They carried Albizu Campos’s coffin through the streets of his hometown in Ponce.
His coffin was then transported to San Juan, where over 75,000 Puerto Ricans accompanied him to the Old San Juan Cemetery.
Today, Pedro Albizu Campos is honored throughout Latin America, with a moral standing and historical significance comparable to Simón Bolivar.
CULEBRA ISLAND TAKEOVER
The U.S. Army takes possession of almost all of Culebra Island.
IRS SECTION 936
Section 936 section of the United States Internal Revenue Tax Code allows U.S. companies to operate in the island without paying corporate taxes.
For the next 30 years, until 2006, American pharmaceutical companies take advantage of this tax loophole, to generate unprecedented profits.
Pro-independence activists Carlos Arriví and Arnaldo Rosado are executed in a police ambush, in a mountain known as Cerro Maravilla. The subsequent cover-up involves the FBI and high-ranking members of the Puerto Rican government.
U.S. pharmaceutical corporations build enormous drug production facilities in Puerto Rico. The island becomes a pill factory.
As of 2008, Puerto Rico is the world’s largest shipper of pharmaceuticals, accounting for nearly 25% of total shipments. 16 of the 20 biggest-selling drugs in the U.S., are produced in Puerto Rico.
In the town of Barceloneta, one Pfizer factory produces all the Viagra consumed in North America (the U.S., Canada and Mexico).
In 2002, the combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses combined ($33.7 billion).
VIEQUES BOMBING STOPS
Bowing to international pressure, which intensifies after civilians are killed by stray bombs, the U.S. Navy ceases its 60-year bombing exercises on the island of Vieques.
NO MORE IRS 936
IRS Section 936 is phased out and replaced by Section 30A, which essentially retains the 936 wage credit component. Pharmaceutical companies continue their enormous manufacture of drugs, and drug profits.
Today Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate is over 15 percent and per capita income is less than half that of Mississippi (the lowest of the fifty states). U.S. federal agencies control Puerto Rico’s foreign relations, customs, immigration, postal system, radio, TV, transportation, Social Security, military, maritime laws, banks, commerce, currency and defense.
At its height, the extent of military control over the island was particularly striking. One could not drive five miles in any direction without running into an Army base, nuclear site or tracking station – with the Pentagon controlling 13 percent of Puerto Rico’s land, and operating five atomic missile bases.
More than a century after its invasion by the U.S., Puerto Rico is one of the few classic colonies still in existence. Its “commonwealth” status is a thin veneer for a one-sided, abusive relationship.
The island is currently a pill factory – the world’s largest shipper of pharmaceuticals, accounting for nearly 25% of total shipments. 16 of the 20 largest-selling drugs in the U.S., are produced in Puerto Rico.
The profits made by these drug companies, roughly $35 billion annually, are greater than the combined budgets of every government in Puerto Rico – including all three branches of the central government; every public corporation, utility, and highway authority; and every municipality.
In 2009, Puerto Ricans had a median household income of $18,314. By comparison Mississippi, the poorest state in the U.S., had median household income of $36,646.
In 2013, the poverty rate in Puerto Rico reached 44.9%, nearly double that of Mississippi.
Clearly, the abusive relationship continues.
After 60 years of bombing in Vieques, a century of economic exploitation, a Gag Law, a land grab, the Ponce Massacre, the Rio Piedras Massacre, the execution of its leaders, and the sterilization of its women, Puerto Rico is not just a “commonwealth.”
It is the battered spouse of the Caribbean.
A much broader history of the U.S. – Puerto Rico relationship, including a detailed analysis of the sugarcane industry and Operation Bootstrap, is provided in the book…
Reply to: @IVONNE ACOSTA LESPIER;
Hi Ivonne!, I doubt you will read this , but still I will reply to your well analyzed comment on this subject.
I second your comment, your are very observant and insightful of the matter. Yes you are right !
If the United States of America, “The Land Of The Free and The Home of The Brave!”, Really wanted Puerto Rico to Become a State, they would have made it a State a long time ago. But unfortunately , I have to say that most Statehood Idealist, Will Not Open Their Eyes to The Truth in Front of Them! and Unfortunately the Rest of Society in Puerto Rico are To Naïve to Really Understand this Fact. and as of myself, I rather abandon the hopes of Puerto Rico ever going forward and move to another Country like Germany Perhaps. On this Past Election of 2020, I realized that there is No Hope for Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Citizens are to far gone, Zombie Like to even fight for their rights or their Future. They have Gotten So Used to Uncle Sam Giving them Money and Feeding them, that they Cannot Do it for themselves anymore. Puerto Rico has Become a Slave to the Control of Others. Therefore I personally have decided Not to Ever Vote Again in such a system where Freedom is NOT an Option anymore, I thought for a moment Puerto Rico Had Woken Up from the Spell, I was WRONG!. To further Top it off We have a whole Bunch of Corrupt Politicians that Only Look out for the Welfare of their Friends and Family and Not for the Welfare of the Colony. In the Example of Puerto Rico Becoming a Republic, I would really doubt, it would be totally free, Hence The US would Block the Island to Limit its Possibilities of Resources and Global Trading, Just as they have done to Cuba. But Hey ” GOD Bless America and the Freedom it Stands For! AMEN!
Puerto Rico has Become Mushrooms!, I learned that Mushrooms are Kept in the Dark and Fed a 4 letter word !
Sad But True!
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It was really good
Thx look up draco malfoy
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These true stories are SO important to revive my soul and on the other hand I get body slammed from a four story home. Is this the price we are paying to be Americans ??.
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And correct me if I’m wrong…but it seems to me that PR will never be granted a state, because ultimately, we can deny that vote and it would be in our best interest to do so because of the tax break the drug companies get for producing from there, and our govt is in bed with those companies. It brings us no benefit to make PR a state. If they become a state, they become more expensive for us to take care of. Why would we do that? But we can’t let them go either, because we need that tax break for our meds and other things. Am I correct on my understanding? If so…then is this wrong for the states to do to PR? Absolutely! It’s so wrong on so many levels. But, it makes sense. If, you’re greedy. And clearly, we are greedy. And inhumane. Still. 😖😔😠
Wow. I am so ashamed to admit that I didn’t know half of this….and I’m half Puerto Rican!😣 this is so eye opening. I just had no idea how badly we have treated this island and the people there. It’s criminal. Thank you for sharing this.
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Do my best to stand in solidarity with Puerto Rico even though I am a poor Spanish student
Viva la pava
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Que mucho a sufrido nuestra patriaaa!gracias a los E U.lo leo y no lo puedo creer. Que mucho daño nos han hecho.
This article about the secret sterilization and drugging brings me back to a day in 1965. I was waiting on the beach off Barrio Obrero for Aunt Luz, a beloved, retired teacher and principal of the public school system. We could’t walk down any street in th any part of San Juan without someone stopping her with tears in the eyes telling her how much they loved her and her guidance.
I was alone and there were 2 or 3 people on the sandy part of the beach. A friendly young fellow walked over to me and started to talk to me in English. We were having a pleasant conversation when I realized he was from the States and was working in the labs that were making the abortion drugs. I told him what I thought of the sterilization squads and how it was an insult to PR women.
His face turned white. He became furious. Luckily he walked away as Aunt Luz came into view. I think I might have been close to being assassinated on the spot. That whole Gang had been operating with impunity and protection in those years. The War Against All Puerto Rican’s was in the hands of the Vende Patria de Puerto Rico.
Aunt Luz was confused with my concern and I couldn’t find words to explain to her what happened.
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I think a big factor here that nobody is talking about when it comes to PR, is it’s ability to be able to choose anything, IMO we have no choice….I may be wrong but if a vote for statehood gains a majority on the island, it’s but a petition to the US Congress who would have to ratify it. As for independence, once again the USA decides because the island is a colony and “commonwealth” is a term used to hide that simple fact. An uprising for independence would be quelled as quickly as each time before it…so I don’t understand when people ask for Puerto Ricans to make a choice….what I do know is the “status quo” or “limbo” is only beneficial to those that profit from it…and that is not the people that live on the island of Puerto Rico.
When seeking independence there is no need to choose between USA or Cuba. It has been proved that the USA relationship failed, It has been proved that Cuba, Venezuela and other communist countries have failed. We need to look at other countries not at the extremes.
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A RESPONSE FOR STEVE:
August 14, 2016
Don’t dispute the facts for the most part. There is another side to some of it but the real test is if PR wants independence they can have it, just stop and see the costs associated with it. Those who want it (up till now) may want it so they can join Cuba which puts into question whose side this article is on. Perhaps communist at heart.
STEVE, AT THIS POINT INDEPENDENCE IS THE ONLY WAY OUT. NO MATTER WHAT MAY HAPPEN LATER. WHY? THE PEOPLE OF THE ISLAND WILL HAVE FINALLY GOTTEN A TASTE OF WHAT FREEDOM REALLY IS. YES, THE UPFRONT COSTS WILL BE VERY HIGH; AT IT SEEMS THE REMAINING OPTION FOR THE PEOPLE IS TO FIGHT THEIR WAY OUT. WHETHER THE ISLANDERS CHOOSE TO AFFILIATE WITH CUBA, THE USA, OR ANYONE ELSE WILL BE ENTIRELY UP TO THEM ( UNLIKE IT IS NOW ). TO HAVE THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE WITH WHOM YOU ASSOCIATE WITH, DO BUSINESS WITH, AND HOW YOU GOVERN YOURSELF, IS WHAT FREEDOM IS ALL ABOUT.
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Don’t dispute the facts for the most part. There is another side to some of it but the real test is if PR wants independence they can have it, just stop and see the costs associated with it. Those who want it (up till now) may want it so they can join Cuba which puts into question whose side this article is on. Perhaps communist at heart.
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I agree with your diagnostic of our situation but not with your solution. It is not in our hands, it has never been in our hands to decide between one or the other. The USA designed and implemented the so-called Commonwealth in order to respond to attacks from the Soviet Union at the United Nations that they owned a colony while posing as the model of democracy. Now there is no Soviet Union and they have no reason for sustaining their Frankestein. In the meantime, in order for that lie (of the ELA) to be chosen by the majority of Puerto Ricans back then in 1952, they helped instill fear of independence in the people which is so ingrained now that the mere mention makes people want to leave. On the other hand, statehood has been denied after the imposition of US citizenship in 1917 when the Supreme Court ruled that it was not to be interpreted as a path to statehood. Since then the only time that the three main parties agreed to find a solution in Congress during 1989-91 ended in deadlock because of the fear on the part of most congressmen of including statehood as an option. Now that the US has virtually eliminated the present status as an option, it should also do the same to the statehood movement. Statehood is not a right, it never was but they maintain the hope alive in many people and that is simply dishonest. I am sure that when the US tells our people the truth about statehood not being possible ever, then the only option is Free Association or Independence. But as long as they keep the lie, the statehood party will go on pretending it is possible, wasting resources and feeding on people’s hopes.
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As long as Puerto Rico and its citizens choose limbo instead of independence or statehood, the mess will remain. Re-telling history, holding onto resentments, and demanding more from D.C. will not fix the problems. The one thing holding the island together and destroying it at the same time is its weird relationship with the Mainland – Puerto Ricans who can escape to the US, do so; those who cannot receive just enough welfare to survive. Those who remain but don’t receive welfare are strangled by high costs of keeping a dying beast alive. Thus Puerto Rico’s population is declining along with its fiscal health. Choose statehood or independence – one or the other – just choose! Puerto Rico Fuá!
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It is unnecessary to give false information about our history like saying that the Carta Autonómica from Spain gave us independence. That autonomy was much better than the one the USA allowed in 52 but the fact is that in that case sovereignty was in the hands of Spain. I hope the new book comes out with less errors than the first one which for that reason has not been taken seriously by historians in Puerto Rico.
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I just finished reading the book and am heartbroken and outraged. I was born in San Juan but my parents relocated to New York when I was a little girl. Growing up I saw and felt the racism against my people. The first time I went to my island I fell in love with it and always wanted to move back. Seventeen years ago I was ready to leave when my trip was interrupted (long story). Right now I am facing some obstacles which are preventing me from going back but am not losing hope that I will live my last days in my beautiful island. For what I see my island has been nothing but a money making machine for a bully. My people, we need to fight back. Thank you so much Mr. Denis for writing this book.
As a puerto Rican, born in Puerto Rico I can’t believe that this out right racism continues against our people.. now with the zika virus spreading and puerto Rico s economy in shambles, I don’t hear of any government agencies trying to help Puerto Rico..the president bailed out the car manufacturers and wall street. But couldn’t give a damn about the puerto rican peiple or the island ..I will be purchasing this book very soon..thank you for keeping us informed.
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I’ts our time now.we need to start the evolution for the future..
Puerto Rico tienes unas buenas
infraestructuras,puedes vivir del turismo, y de otros recursos que pueden ser desarrollados si sus gentes se ponen los pantalones largos, y empiezan a caminar por si mismo.dejar atras el sindome de pensar que los del norte ( Los gringos) los hagan todos por mi. es hora de buscar otros caminos que nos lleven a levantar nuestras propias estimacion, como nacion y como pueblo.Rompamos el nivel de ignorancia en que estamos sometidos por mas de un siglo. DESPIERTA BORICUA, ES HORA DE VER MAS ALLA DEL HORIZONTE.
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Very interesting learned more in this article than what l was tought in school’s in P.R n USA. Never knew that our beautiful Island had suffered so much n still suffering from lack of work n medical needs. Waoww an lsland that has given so much taken away from many things that our P.R ppl have fought n suffered for n 1 question who is the ppls making Americans billionaires ( Puerto Ricans) so why all the greed give back make jobs help not distroying what’s making others billionaires n Puertoricans still trying to make ends meet till this day many ppl go hungry children adults cause there’s no $ Really thats Greed 100% if it wasn’t for Puertoricans working for poor wages so they could feed there families there wouldn’t be billionaires eating lobster n champagne while Puertoricans eat rice n beans. Enough said. God bless Puerto Rico
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Slave Masters also had to feed and dress their slaves. Housing also had to be provided. After the Civil War these same Masters cried out how good they had been to their slaves keeping them fed and all. This is what comes to mind when i hear about the Federal Aid sent to Puerto Rico. Yes benefits earned such as Social Security and Food Stamps. low income housing in the Caserios. But it is all a drop in the bucket with the profits made off Puerto Ricans on the island. USA controls and owns the island but we get blamed as a people when their policies fail. As long as we are not free we will point the finger at they who pull the strings.
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“…English is decreed the “official language” of Puerto Rico..”
Hells Bells, English isn’t even the official language of the USA..
As for voting for independence, do you truly think votes are counted the way they are cast?
The USA, where I live, is the biggest terrorist op on the planet. No wonder the MSM has to keep blaring about FBI patsies, setup to be Muslim jihadists, to keep our minds off the bastards we’ve become.
Just wave the flag and sing the national anthem and if you don’t, DHS will be paying you a visit.
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One of the things that I have learned by frequenting this site, is the real lack of knowledge with regard to the PR/U.S. relationship and what that has meant, This lack of knowledge ( and often mis-information ) is found among both native born PR’s; PR’s born on the mainland, and everyone else whom was born raised in the U.S.
I observed on this site a chronological history that indicate that U.S. Big Pharma really started to ramp things up on the island close around 1980. I’m curious, and it my be too far fetched to consider, but is it even remotely possible that there was once this swimming sensation whose name is Jesse Vassallo ( all the way PR; from Ponce ) that made the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team in 1980, and was about to head to Russia to compete but didn’t….not because of the alleged boycott against Russia for the invasion of Afghanistan ( We’ve been there now for several summer Olympiads, but have not been boycotted because it, that I’m aware of.. ), but because of the biographies and expose’s that invariably occur as a corporate networks do for olympic hopefuls and more when they become olympic gold medalists. Jesse stood an excellent chance in becoming the “darling” the “showcase” of U.S. supremacy in this sport. However, had Jesse gone on to Russia to compete and had achieved this kind of success, the story of Puerto Rico would have been out there front and center. Meaning, the colonial issue would have been forced to some degree, And, this would have definitely spurred discussion/debate that MAYBE the U.S. Govt and the major special interest: Big Pharma didn’t want to happen. Had it occurred ( Jesse’s winning of multiple gold medals ) , enough of the people on the U.S. mainland may have been disgusted enough to have caused the plug to have been pulled on Big Pharma’s venture into P.R. Not to mention all the other dirty things that colonialism brings as historical pretext to all of that. It very likely could have brought scandal to the 1980 Olympiad by embarrassing the U.S. Govt. on its nemis’ home turf; and quite possibly threatening to seriously compromise Big Pharma’s plans on the island, which obviously in retrospect turned out to be HUGE and profitable venture post 1980.
Did the U.S. really feel so badly about the Afghan’s getting invaded by Russia? I would venture to say that most in this country had no real knowledge or understanding of what Afghanistan meant to us in any real sense in 1979-80. Or, is it possible that the U.S. Govt. used the invasion as an excuse to avoid having to deal with the potential I described above?? I have never heard Jesse speak on any media. There is hardly anything about him on the internet when one compares him to other swimmers of his caliber. It’s like this man has quietly disappeared from the annals of U.S. history, when his presence on the scene was looming and so great in 1980. He would have been on his way 35 yrs ago this month. Just food for thought…
To Ed Dalton…why hasn’t PR voted to become independent or a state? (1) Because they don’t think the US will have us; (2) they don’t think we can make it alone; (3) because of “watermelons” i.e. Those of us who talk independence (green) but vote red (PDP) when they get in the voting booth….they do this to block a statehood majority. (4). People want to keep it as it is, supposedly the best of both worlds. Independence cannot usually garner enough votes to even stay a party…2-3% at most….
Why hasn’t Puerto Rico become a state or become independent?
With Cuba soon entering the free market, it concerns me that all the Caribbean will be economically under extreme pressure, Cuba will undersell every other economy in the caribbean. We must think about ways to bring employment to the island and keep it there for the future generations. We must insist upon our legal and human rights as citizens of the U.S., and if independence is our future separate from a position of strength.
Inevitably we all pay. The Puerto Ricans will come out on top. God does not like ugly, and much of that was done onto this group. Atrocities, no matter how small or large break people, and it takes many many years to overcome such events. Here we are still talking about it, some people learning about them for the first time. Do you think this will EVER go away, nope. It will be repeated and it will continue to break the majority of the people. For every action there is a reaction, wonder why poverty is at the level it is?, we are dealing with a broken people.
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Que triste y cruel. Voy a comprar el libro. Naci en San Juan pero me crie en los Estados Unidos. Siempre quise vivir en mi pais y nunca se me hizo possible. Ultimamente mi islita me esta llamando. Espero que se me cumpla este sueño pronto. “Y no quiero morir alejada de ti Puerto Rico del alma.” Love you my beautiful island.
Marcelino, I agree with you totally. We will get past this, and hopefully, come out on the other side a lot stronger. But it is time to pay the piper….these past twenty years of corruption, incompetence and kicking the can down the road for the next administration to deal with is finally coming home to roost. There are certainly people here who have the intelligence, education and fortitude to deal with this situation….unfortunately, they are not running the government. It’s time for a clean sweep! If you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results….then you get what you deserve….
Every nation has had its ups and downs. All countries suffer from some kind of injustice and yet they survive through all the tribulations. Puerto Rico is strong, it has character and its people are hard working. No matter the challenges that it has face; life is better now than it was before. If you don’t believe my observation, please explain why of a population of 3 million (by U.S. Census count) there are almost 1million foreign residents making their livelihood on the Island. Maybe is because it has one of the best kept secret in all of the Caribbean: its education system: surprise! Not really; the school of medicine in Rio Piedras , Colegio de Ingeneria in Mayaguez are top Ivies school. Our legal schools rank among the best in the country. Each town or Municipality has vocational or training institutions. And if you need an outlet you can always jump on a jet and travel without restrictions.
Yes, we had had a tumultuous history, but then where has men or women been so docile in human history.
Que bueno seber de esta historia de nuestro país y lo q sufrieron nuestros compatriota ..me impresiono mucho lo de el medico y las inyecciones de células de cáncer y las esterilización de nuestras mujeres puertorriqueñas seria bueno q Todo el mundo le Llera este libro digo todo el mundo para q sepan de nosotros y se reactante de el mal concepto q tienen de los puertorriqueños y q sean sabido superar a pesar de tanto abuzó q hubo en nuestro país y q los q vivimos aquí q no quieren hacer nada productivo incluyendo hasta parte. De los que están gobernando nuestro país no conocen de esta historia, gracia lo disfrute mucho y aprendí cosas que para la edad q tengo nunca había sabido me gustaría saber si el libro está en español y donde conseguirlo para dejárselo a mis nietos y q sepan la rialifad de la súper vivencia de nuestros compatriota y q no todo fue color de rosa..
No solo los invasores fueron tan malos como lo cuentan, peores y más malos son los mismos puertoriqueños que con éstas historietas nos quieren exclavizar. Ya los Americanos no viven en PR, naci en 1960 y me crie en PR, fui muy pobre y vi como eran las cosas entre los mismos puertoriqueños, malas experiencias con los mios, tuve que ingresar en el US ARMY porque no tenia recursos para estudiar un grado universitario, luego regrese y me fue peor pues todo lo acaparaban unos cuantos, todo es politizado, los servicios ni se diga, en el hoy le dan más atencion al de afuera que al del patio, los que son vagos no es porque quieren ser vagos, es que los mismos puertoriqueños jefes a cargo los esclavizan por una misera paga en la industria privada, mientras que el verdadero vago ocupa las mejores posiciones en los mejores puestos del gobierno. Sali de PR y hasta el sol de hoy, me retire de militar y del gobierno federal, tengo mi pension ganada, siempre trabaje duro desde que era un niño alla en los campos de PR. Tambien trabaje al sol caliente en la construccion al salario minimo. Me tuve que joder tambien en USA contra el racismo y la descriminacion de parte de los anglosojones, red neck, negros y todas las razas hispanas que son mucho más racistas y esclavisadores en todo el universo. No escribire más nada, solo digo que Albizu por lo menos tuvo más oportunidad que yo , entro a harvard y se graduo pero dejo perder todo para nadad, pues cuando callo nadie saco la cara por Pedro Albizu Campos. Desde luego siempre he dicho al carajo con cuentos, sea usted mismo, luche por usted, sea usted, sacrifiquese por usted, nadie lo hara por usted. No se coja pena, no piense por una escritura, un pandero, una cancion, una nacion ni una bandera, internacionalize su ser, cambie de canal y vea otras cosas mejores, porque les aseguro que si no se mueven desde jovenes y no hacen nada por ustedes mismos, no le servira cagarsele en la madre al Tio Sam o decir Albizu vive.
Y TODO PARA QUE ??
Una historia de mi patria que nunca habia aprendido.ahora veo mas claro el intent de este pais en cual yo vivo.Us son los Naziz modern de esta epoca.
Very interesting history wich I never knew.I love my home land but I live in America.I wish I had the resourses to help my home land.But unfurtunally I am as poor as the rest of my people.quisiera yo ser parte de aquellos que hacen bien a mi patria.Amo A mi PR.
Y los ignorantes de la isla creen que la vida es imposible sin estados unidos, y quieren ser estado. Me da lastima que mi país viva con un nivel alto de ignorancia y pésima educación. Estados Unidos necesita de nosotros y abusa de la mano que los ayuda, y le pinta a los ignorante de mi isla que somos nosotros los que necesitamos de ellos. El día que vea completa independencia de mi isla, el día que vea todo el estiércol americana zapearse, gritare con alegría arriba mi isla y vamos por mejor y mas seguro futuro. Esas tales ayudas, cupones y wic, es hora que se eliminen, es solo una estrategia para cegar las personas de la isla, el mismo boricua debe buscar la forma de crear y administrar sus propias cosas por mas difícil y riesgoso sea, de esa forma les ensenamos a la próxima generación y terminamos de esta generación de vagos e ignorantes creada por los mismos americanos
Los canallas no dejan de robarle el patrimonio de quien son los verdaderos herederos de la tierra boincana. Lo tienen verguenza ni moral, sino son ladrones que algun dia pagaran el precio eternamente ante su creado y sean lanzados al infierno que ganaron con sus actos violentos, vergonzosos y sobre todo deshumanizantes. Bonita obra este libro, hace falta mas investigadores de este caliber para abrirle los ojos a todos lo boricuas!
Some things in this article are just not true….one person was killed in the bombing of Vieques (not many) and he was a guard; the pharmaceutical firms had to maintain their profits here in the local banks for ten years which enabled the island to prosper….look at the fiscal mess here right now….it started when the 936 program ended. In fact, the entire downfall of this island started with the withdrawal of the Navy from Roosevelt Roads and the loss of the 936 program. I live in PR now and for the past 25 years and I married into a Puerto Rican family….and I watched the entire fiasco happen. While I don’t argue with the atrocities that were committed, I don’t like the sensationalism and the tweaking of the facts. And I do believe independence is the way to go for Puerto Rico….they have to choose a status….they cannot stay in this limbo of the Commonwealth.
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They forgot to mention the impact of the social aid programs in the island. To this date, nearly 70% of all families in PR live under federal aid and not working, while the economic load is in the 30% who do work. The unemployment rate the government publishes reflects is only based upon the citizens who are actively searching for a job at the PR government
Work Department. It does not count the 60-70% under aid. The federal aid program has effectively broken the back of the locals will to work.
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porque nadie nos enseno esto cuando ninos ,los boricuas de mi familia ni uno es pathetic lazy or thieves,como escribio el cabron ese ok que yo no vivo en PUERTO RICO ,pero si me duele y me arrabia que estos estupidos le sacan el jugo a mis compatrotas,inclenyendo mis hijos que estan en el militar…..i will buy this book!!!
please teach us more!!